Statistics show that our industry is one of the most hazardous in the country. Week after week, month after month, the news brings stories of more workers injured or killed on the job. Every one of these incidents casts a bad light on every recycler, sometimes drowning out all of the good that we do for the environment and for our communities.
Our trade association ”ISRI” is dedicated to the ideal that our workers are our most precious commodities. We owe it to them, and to their families and our communities to provide a safe and healthful work environment. We owe them a workplace culture of safety. As an industry, we need to establish a high bar for acceptable behavior among our peers.
ISRI’s rallying cry of “Safely, or not at all,” is more than empty words. It reflects a commitment that our workers’ health and safety means more than profit. As individuals who belong to ISRI, we have an obligation to spread the message of a safety culture to every recycler.
The ISRI Safety and Environmental Council (ISEC) is the perfect forum through which to spread the word on safety. The ISEC brings industry leaders together twice a year to explore safety and environmental issues, and to establish baselines for acceptable performance. The council provides opportunities to share ideas and to ask questions. It brings people together to network and address challenges.
As chair of the ISRI Safety & Environmental Council, I invite and encourage every member company to send representatives to the ISEC. I believe that every member has an obligation to attend. If we’re serious about changing our industry’s safety culture, how can it be any other way?
The time is now to bring life to the rallying cry. If we can’t do what we do safely "if we can’t provide a safe work environment and adequate training and effective engineering controls and personal protective equipment" then we owe it to our workers and to our communities to not do it at all.
Jerry Sjogren E.L. Harvey & Sons ISEC Chair